WYN » Topics » Regulations Generally Applicable to Our Business

This excerpt taken from the WYN 10-K filed Feb 27, 2009.
Regulations Generally Applicable to Our Business
 
Our businesses are subject to, among others, laws and regulations that affect privacy and data collection, marketing regulation, the use of the Internet and others.
 
Privacy and Data Collection. The collection and use of personal data of our customers and our ability to contact our customers, including through telephone, email or facsimile, as well as the sharing of our customer data with affiliates and third parties, are governed by privacy laws and regulations enacted in the United States and in other jurisdictions around the world. Privacy regulations continue to evolve and on occasion may be inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another. Many states have introduced legislation or enacted laws and regulations that require compliance with standards for data collection and protection of privacy and, in some instances, provide for penalties for failure to notify customers when the security of a company’s electronic/computer systems designed to protect such standards are breached, even by third parties. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, adopted “do not call” and “do not fax” regulations in October 2003. Also “do not call” legislation became effective in Australia in May 2007. In response to “do not call” and “do not fax” regulations, our affected businesses have modified, where appropriate, their approach to outbound telemarketing practices, and periodically review outbound lists against regulated, constantly updated “do not call” lists. In addition, our European businesses have adopted policies and procedures to reasonably comply with the European Union Directive on Data Protection. These policies and procedures require that, among other things, consent to use customer data (other than in accordance with our stipulated privacy policies, or to transfer the data outside of the European Union, or as otherwise “necessary” for certain authorized purposes, including, for example, the performance of a contract with the individual concerned) must be obtained.
 
Marketing Operations. The products and services offered by our various businesses are marketed through a number of distribution channels, including direct mail, telemarketing and online. These channels are regulated at the federal, state and local levels, and we believe that the effect of such regulations on our marketing operations will increase over time. Such regulations, which include anti-fraud laws, consumer protection laws, privacy laws, identity theft laws, anti-spam laws, telemarketing laws and telephone solicitation laws, may limit our ability to solicit new customers or to market additional products or services to existing customers. In addition, some of our business units use sweepstakes and contests as part of their marketing and promotional programs. These activities are regulated primarily by state laws that require certain disclosures and assurance that the prizes will be available to the winners.
 
Internet. A number of laws and regulations have been adopted to regulate the Internet. In addition, it is possible that existing laws may be interpreted to apply to the Internet in ways that the existing laws are not currently applied, particularly with respect to the imposition of state and local taxes on the use and reservation of accommodations through the Internet. Regulatory and legal requirements are particularly subject to change with respect to the Internet


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and may become more restrictive, which will increase the difficulty and expense of compliance or otherwise restrict our business units’ abilities to conduct operations as such operations are currently conducted.
 
We continue to follow and reasonably monitor the status of federal, state and international legislation related to privacy, data security and marketing with respect to the onsite marketplace and the use and protection of customer data, as well as with the effect, if any, such legislation may have on our businesses. California, for example, has enacted legislation that requires certain minimum disclosures on Internet web sites regarding consumer privacy and information sharing among affiliated entities. Other states have enacted similar laws or have legislation pending. We cannot predict with certainty what affect these laws will have on our practices with respect to customer information and/or on our ability to market our products and services, nor can we predict whether additional states will enact similar laws. Because Internet reservations are more cost-effective than reservations taken over the phone, our costs may increase if Internet reservations are adversely affected by regulations.
 
Travel Agency Services. The travel agency products and services that our businesses provide are subject to various federal, state and local regulations. We must comply with laws and regulations that relate to our marketing and sales of such products and services, including laws and regulations that prohibit unfair and deceptive advertising or practices and laws that require us to register as a “seller of travel” to comply with disclosure requirements. In addition, we are indirectly affected by the regulation of our travel suppliers, many of which are heavily regulated by the United States and other governments. We are also affected by the European Union Directive applicable to the sale and provision of package holidays because some of our European businesses operate such that they are classified, for certain of their operations, as organizers of package holidays. This European Union Directive places liability for the package holiday sold with the organizer and requires that the organizer has security in place in order to refund to the consumer money paid by such consumer in the event of insolvency of the organizer.
 
Immigration. Our domestic business is subject to laws and regulations regarding employment of immigrants, ensuring that we employ only U.S. work authorized individuals. This requires us to perform proper hiring procedures to confirm each new employee’s identity and authorization to work in the United States. Recent and anticipated changes in federal and state laws require employers to verify social security numbers as well, which will require us to devote additional resources to conducting the verification process, communicating with employees about verification issues, and, in some cases, terminating the employment of those who are not able to timely resolve verification issues, even if those employees are otherwise authorized to work in the United States. Strict compliance with the laws may result in complaints of discrimination on the basis of national origin; however, failure to comply with these laws may subject the company to significant penalties, such as the loss of a license to do business in certain states or municipalities, the imposition of fines, or reputational damage. We are also subject to similar laws and regulations regarding employment of immigrants in other jurisdictions around the world.
 
Persons with Disabilities. The American with Disabilities Act, or ADA, prohibits places of public accommodation, such as lodging and restaurant facilities, from discriminating against an individual on the basis of disability as defined in the Act. The U.S. Department of Justice published “ADA Standards for Accessible Design” and “ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities,” collectively referred to as “ADAAG,” that, among other things, prescribe a specified number of handicapped accessible rooms, assistive devices for hearing, speech and visually impaired persons, and general standards of design applicable to all areas of facilities subject to the law. The ADAAG specifies the minimum room design and layout criteria for handicapped accessible rooms. Any newly constructed facility (given a certificate of occupancy after January 26, 1993) must comply with ADAAG and be “readily accessible” to and useable by persons with disabilities. Owners, lessors, lessees and operators of public accommodations and their contractors are responsible for ADA and ADAAG compliance. States may impose additional laws that address accommodations and services for individuals with disabilities. We are also subject to similar laws and regulations regarding persons with disabilities in other jurisdictions around the world.
 
This excerpt taken from the WYN 10-K filed Feb 29, 2008.
Regulations Generally Applicable to Our Business
 
Our businesses are subject to, among others, laws and regulations that affect privacy and data collection, marketing regulation and the use of the Internet, as described below:
 
Privacy and Data Collection. The collection and use of personal data of our customers and our ability to contact our customers, including through telephone, email or facsimile, as well as the sharing of our customer data with affiliates and third parties, are governed by privacy laws and regulations enacted in the United States and in other jurisdictions around the world. Privacy regulations continue to evolve and on occasion may be inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another. Accordingly, we have implemented a “best practices” approach to compliance with these numerous and sometimes divergent laws. Many states have introduced legislation or enacted laws and regulations that require compliance with standards for data collection and protection of privacy and, in some instances, provide for penalties for failure to notify customers when the security of a company’s electronic/computer systems designed to protect such standards are breached, even by third parties. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, adopted “do not call” and “do not fax” regulations in October 2003. Also “do not call” legislation became effective in Australia in May 2007. In compliance with such regulations, our affected businesses have developed and implemented plans to block phone numbers listed on the “do not call” and “do not fax” registries and have instituted new procedures for preventing unsolicited or otherwise unauthorized telemarketing calls. In response to “do not call” and “do not fax” regulations, our affected businesses have reduced their reliance on outbound telemarketing and also review any outbound lists against the constantly updated “do not call” list. In addition, our European businesses have adopted policies and procedures to comply with the European Union Directive on Data Protection. These policies and procedures require that unless the use of data is “necessary” for certain specified purposes, including, for example, the performance of a contract with the individual concerned, consent to use data other than in accordance with our stipulated privacy policies, or to transfer the data outside of the European Union, must be obtained.
 
Marketing Operations. The products and services offered by our various businesses are marketed through a number of distribution channels, including direct mail, telemarketing and online. These channels are regulated at the federal, state and local levels, and we believe that the effect of such regulations on our marketing operations will increase over time. Such regulations, which include anti-fraud laws, consumer protection laws, privacy laws, identity theft laws, anti-spam laws, telemarketing laws and telephone solicitation laws, may limit our ability to solicit new customers or to market additional products or services to existing customers. In addition, some of our business units use sweepstakes and contests as part of their marketing and promotional programs. These activities are regulated primarily by state laws that require certain disclosures and assurance that the prizes will be available to the winners.
 
Internet. A number of laws and regulations have been adopted to regulate the Internet. In addition, it is possible that existing laws may be interpreted to apply to the Internet in ways that the existing laws are not currently applied, particularly with respect to the imposition of state and local taxes on the use and reservation of accommodations through the Internet. Regulatory and legal requirements are particularly subject to change with respect to the Internet and may become more restrictive, which will increase the difficulty and expense of compliance or otherwise restrict our business units’ abilities to conduct operations as such operations are currently conducted.


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We are also aware of, and are actively monitoring the status of, recently enacted and certain proposed federal, state and international legislation related to privacy, data security and marketing with respect to the onsite marketplace and the use and protection of customer data. It is unclear at this point what effect, if any, such federal, state and international legislation may have on our businesses. California, for example, has enacted legislation that requires enhanced disclosure on Internet web sites regarding consumer privacy and information sharing among affiliated entities. Other states have enacted similar laws or have legislation pending. We cannot predict with certainty whether these laws will affect our practices with respect to customer information and inhibit our ability to market our products and services nor can we predict whether additional states will enact similar laws. Because Internet reservations are more cost-effective than reservations taken over the phone, our costs may increase if Internet reservations are adversely affected by regulations.
 
Travel Agency Services. The travel agency products and services that our businesses provide are subject to various federal, state and local regulations. We must comply with laws and regulations that relate to our marketing and sales of such products and services, including laws and regulations that prohibit unfair and deceptive advertising or practices and laws that require us to register as a “seller of travel” to comply with disclosure requirements. In addition, we are indirectly affected by the regulation of our travel suppliers, many of which are heavily regulated by the United States and other governments. We are also affected by the European Union Directive applicable to the sale and provision of package holidays because some of our European businesses operate such that they are classified, for certain of their operations, as organizers of package holidays. This European Union Directive places liability for the package holiday sold with the organizer and requires that the organizer has security in place in order to refund to the consumer money paid by such consumer in the event of insolvency of the organizer.
 
Immigration. Our domestic business is subject to law and regulations regarding employment of immigrants, ensuring that we employ only U.S. work authorized individuals. This requires us to perform proper hiring procedures to confirm each new employee’s identity and authorization to work in the United States. Recent and anticipated changes in federal and state laws require employers to verify social security numbers as well, which will require us to devote additional resources to conducting the verification process, communicating with employees about verification issues, and, in some cases, terminating the employment of those who are not able to timely resolve verification issues, even if those employees are otherwise authorized to work in the United States. Strict compliance with the laws may result in complaints of discrimination on the basis of national origin, however, failure to comply with these laws may subject the company to significant penalties, such as the loss of a license to do business in certain states or municipalities, the imposition of fines, or reputational damage.
 
This excerpt taken from the WYN 10-K filed Mar 7, 2007.
Regulations Generally Applicable to Our Business
 
Our businesses are subject to, among others, laws and regulations that affect privacy and data collection, marketing regulation and the use of the Internet, as described below:
 
Privacy and Data Collection. The collection and use of personal data of our customers and our ability to contact our customers, including through telephone or facsimile, are governed by privacy laws and regulations enacted in the United States and in other jurisdictions around the world. Privacy regulations continue to evolve and on occasion may be inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another. Many states have introduced legislation or enacted laws and regulations that require strict compliance with standards for data collection and protection of privacy and provide for penalties for failure to notify customers when such standards are breached, even by third parties. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, adopted “do not call” and “do not fax” regulations in October 2003. In compliance with such regulations, our affected businesses have developed and implemented plans to block phone numbers listed on the “do not call” and “do not fax” registries and have instituted new procedures for preventing unsolicited telemarketing calls. In response to “do not call” and “do not fax” regulations, our affected businesses have reduced their reliance on outbound telemarketing. In addition, our European businesses have adopted policies and procedures to comply with the European Union Directive on Data Protection. These policies and procedures require that unless the use of data is “necessary” for certain specified purposes, including, for example, the performance of a contract with the individual concerned, consent to use data must be obtained. Australia, in 2006, adopted “do not call” legislation and promulgated “do not call” regulations. Such regulations will become effective May 2007 and we are instituting new procedures to comply with such regulations.
 
Marketing Operations. The products and services offered by our various businesses are marketed through a number of distribution channels, including direct mail, telemarketing and online. These channels are regulated at the state and federal levels, and we believe that the effect of such regulations on our marketing operations will increase over time. Such regulations, which include anti-fraud laws, consumer protection laws, privacy laws, identity theft laws, anti-spam laws, telemarketing laws and telephone solicitation laws, may limit our ability to solicit new customers or to market additional products or services to existing customers. In addition, some of our business units use sweepstakes and contests as part of their marketing and promotional programs. These activities are regulated primarily by state laws that require certain disclosures and assurance that the prizes will be available to the winners.
 
Internet. Although our business units’ operations on the Internet are not currently regulated by any government agency in the United States, it is likely that a number of laws and regulations may be adopted to regulate the Internet. In addition, it is possible that existing laws may be interpreted to apply to the Internet in ways that the


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existing laws are not currently applied, particularly with respect to the imposition of state and local taxes on the use and reservation of accommodations through the Internet. Regulatory and legal requirements are particularly subject to change with respect to the Internet and may become more restrictive, which will increase the difficulty and expense of compliance or otherwise restrict our business units’ abilities to conduct operations as such operations are currently conducted.
 
We are also aware of, and are actively monitoring the status of, certain proposed United States state and international legislation related to privacy and e-mail marketing that may be enacted in the future. It is unclear at this point what effect, if any, such state and international legislation may have on our businesses. California, for example, has enacted legislation that requires enhanced disclosure on Internet web sites regarding consumer privacy and information sharing among affiliated entities. We cannot predict with certainty whether these laws will affect our practices with respect to customer information and inhibit our ability to market our products and services nor can we predict whether other states will enact similar laws. Because Internet reservations are more cost-effective than reservations taken over the phone, our costs may increase if Internet reservations are adversely affected by regulations.
 
Travel Agency Services. The travel agency products and services that our businesses provide are subject to various federal, state and local regulations. We must comply with laws and regulations that relate to our marketing and sales of such products and services, including laws and regulations that prohibit unfair and deceptive advertising or practices and laws that require us to register as a “seller of travel” to comply with disclosure requirements. In addition, we are indirectly affected by the regulation of our travel suppliers, many of which are heavily regulated by the United States and other governments. We are also affected by the European Union Directive applicable to the sale and provision of package holidays because some of our European businesses operate such that they are classified, for certain of their operations, as organizers of package holidays. This European Union Directive places liability for the package holiday sold with the organizer and requires that the organizer has security in place in order to refund to the consumer money paid by such consumer in the event of insolvency of the organizer.
 
This excerpt taken from the WYN 8-K filed Jul 19, 2006.

Regulations Generally Applicable to Our Business

Our businesses are subject to, among others, laws and regulations that affect privacy and data collection, marketing regulation and the use of the Internet, as described below:

Privacy and Data Collection. The collection and use of personal data of our customers and our ability to contact our customers, including through telephone or facsimile, are governed by privacy laws and regulations enacted in the United States and in other jurisdictions around the world. Privacy regulations continue to evolve and on occasion may be inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another. Many states have introduced legislation or enacted laws and regulations that require strict compliance with standards for data collection and protection of privacy and provide for penalties for failure to notify customers when such standards are breached, even by third parties. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, adopted “do not call” and “do not fax” regulations in October 2003. In compliance with such regulations, our affected businesses have developed and implemented plans to block phone numbers listed on the “do not call” and “do not fax” registries and have instituted new procedures for preventing unsolicited telemarketing calls. In response to “do not call” and “do not fax” regulations, our affected businesses have reduced their reliance on outbound telemarketing. In addition, our European businesses have adopted policies and procedures to comply with the European Union Directive on Data Protection. These policies and procedures require that unless the use of data is “necessary” for certain specified purposes, including, for example, the performance of a contract with the individual concerned, consent to use data must be obtained.

Marketing Operations. The products and services offered by our various businesses are marketed through a number of distribution channels, including direct mail, telemarketing and online. These channels are regulated at the state and federal levels, and we believe that the effect of such regulations on our marketing operations will increase over time. Such regulations, which include anti-fraud laws, consumer protection laws, privacy laws, identity theft laws, anti-spam laws, telemarketing laws and telephone solicitation laws, may limit our ability to solicit new customers or to market additional products or services to existing customers. In addition, some of our business units use sweepstakes and contests as part of their marketing and promotional programs. These activities are regulated primarily by state laws that require certain disclosures and assurance that the prizes will be available to the winners.

Internet. Although our business units’ operations on the Internet are not currently regulated by any government agency in the United States, it is likely that a number of laws and regulations may be adopted to regulate the Internet. In addition, it is possible that existing laws may be interpreted to apply to the Internet in ways that the existing laws are not currently applied, particularly with respect to the imposition of state and local taxes on the use and reservation of accommodations through the Internet. Regulatory and legal requirements are particularly subject to change with respect to the Internet and may become more restrictive, which will increase the difficulty and expense of compliance or otherwise restrict our business units’ abilities to conduct operations as such operations are currently conducted.

We are also aware of, and are actively monitoring the status of, certain proposed United States state and international legislation related to privacy and e-mail marketing that may be enacted in the future. It is unclear at this point what effect, if any, such state and international legislation may have on our businesses. California, for example, has enacted legislation that requires enhanced disclosure on Internet web sites regarding consumer privacy and information sharing among affiliated entities. We cannot predict with certainty whether these laws will affect our practices with respect to customer information and inhibit our ability to market our products and services nor can we predict whether other states will enact similar laws. Because Internet reservations are more cost-effective than reservations taken over the phone, our costs may increase if Internet reservations are adversely affected by regulations.

 

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Travel Agency Services. The travel agency products and services that our businesses provide are subject to various federal, state and local regulations. We must comply with laws and regulations that relate to our marketing and sales of such products and services, including laws and regulations that prohibit unfair and deceptive advertising or practices and laws that require us to register as a “seller of travel” to comply with disclosure requirements. In addition, we are indirectly affected by the regulation of our travel suppliers, many of which are heavily regulated by the United States and other governments. We are also affected by the European Union Directive applicable to the sale and provision of package holidays because some of our European businesses operate such that they are classified, for certain of their operations, as organizers of package holidays. This European Directive places liability for the package holiday sold with the organizer and requires that the organizer has security in place in order to refund to the consumer money paid by such consumer in the event of insolvency of the organizer.

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